BY STEVE DUNN
The opinion that many people have of Christians is that they are self-righteous and judgmental, claiming a perfection that really is impossible to achieve. Although there are Christians for whom that is indeed true, let me set the record straight.
To the Christian, the goal of righteousness requires a right relationship with God. It is our heart’s desire to be the person God created us to be and for whom Christ died that we could become. People think that righteousness comes from going to church, reading your Bible, living a squeaky clean life–but righteousness (or holiness) is a gift from God to people who choose to let God live in and through them.
Ironically, that righteousness comes from having a heart after God’s own heart. Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, used to pray this prayer: “O God, break my heart with the things that break your heart.” Christians who are truly righteous (not self-righteous) would pray this prayer daily. They would pray it not merely devotionally but out of earnest desire.
I once read that there were things required for a right relationship with God: SURRENDER, BROKENNESS, and REPENTANCE.
Righteousness comes from surrendering our lives to the will and purposes of God. Surrender becomes really when we are broken, when we come to the end of our self pride and humbly admit our need for God. Repentance comes from recognizing living apart from God is sin–and more than that, keeps us from lives of obedience to God Who created us and saved us.
Righteousness is not a false sense of perfection but a genuine dependence on forgiveness. As we turn our imperfect, broken, prideful lives over to God – we finally connect with His blessing and become the blessed He has blessed us to be. Genuine Christians pray this prayer, penned long ago by a man of incredible imperfection and public sin, King David:
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17
I hope this sets the record straight.